U.S. import and export prices both increased in July, the U.S. Department of Labor reported on Wednesday.
The price index for U.S. imports rose 0.2 percent in July, after a decrease of 1.1 percent in the previous month.
Prior to June, prices for U.S. imports advanced in each of the first 5 months of 2019. Despite the increases, import prices declined 1.8 percent over the past year.
Prices for import fuel advanced 1.8 percent in July following a 7.3-percent drop in June. Import fuel prices previously increased 30.1 percent for the first 5 months of 2019.
Overall fuel prices and petroleum prices both fell over the past year, declining 5.5 percent and 5.9 percent, respectively. Natural gas prices fell 1.4 percent in July, after declining 59.6 percent the previous 3 months. The recent decreases drove natural gas prices down 22.1 percent over the past 12 months.
The price index for nonfuel imports edged down 0.1 percent in July following 0.3-percent decreases in each of the previous 2 months.
The July decline was driven by lower prices for automotive vehicles; foods, feeds, and beverages; and capital goods. Those decreases were partially offset by rising prices for consumer goods and nonfuel industrial supplies and materials.
Prices for nonfuel imports fell 1.3 percent from July 2018 to July 2019, led by declining prices for industrial supplies and materials and capital goods.
Meanwhile, U.S. export prices increased 0.2 percent in July, after decreasing 0.9 percent over the previous 2 months.
Higher agricultural and nonagricultural prices both contributed to the advance. Despite the July increase, prices for U.S. exports continued to decrease on a 12-month basis, declining 0.9 percent from July 2018 to July 2019.
Agricultural export prices rose 0.4 percent in July following a 2.5-percent increase in June. The July advance was led by higher prices for soybeans, other animal feeds, nuts, and vegetables which more than offset lower prices for fruit and wheat.
Prices for agricultural exports rose 3.7 percent over the past year, the largest 12-month increase since the index advanced 5.3 percent from June 2017 to June 2018.
The price index for nonagricultural exports rose 0.2 percent in July, after a 1.0-percent decrease in June and a 0.2-percent drop in May. The July increase was primarily led by higher nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials prices, though rising consumer goods prices also contributed to the advance. In contrast, prices for capital goods and automotive vehicles declined.
Nonagricultural export prices decreased 1.5 percent for the year ended in July, driven by falling prices for nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials which more than offset advancing finished goods prices.